GCSE science grades expect to fall

A “small drop” should be expected in science GCSE results this year, an exams watchdog has said.

In a letter to schools, advisory body Ofqual set out its plans for changes to GCSE and A-level exams. In response to the Department of Education calling out for higher quality exams, this will be the first year the new version of GCSEs in biology, chemistry, physics and both additional and additional applied science will be studied.

The watchdog has said that the syllabuses were changed as they were not previously thought to be difficult enough.

The letter reads: “These GCSEs are designed to be more challenging, because the previous syllabuses did not adequately test the subject content and were not sufficiently demanding. Although we cannot be sure until results come in, we are expecting a small drop in achievements overall rather than anything more substantial. The picture may be different school by school.”

Commenting on the story, the Association of School and College Leaders’ general secretary Brian Lightman predicted that this year would be “a very tough year” for students.

“Students are working harder than ever before and their teachers are working harder than ever to do their best for them. It’s very demoralising for students to be told that the examinations they took were too easy.”

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